IndexPacificsPolynesia Pukapukans


Featured: Pukapukans, Ra’Ivavae, French Polynesia [Marquesans, Cook Islands [Tahiti, Aitutaki, Mangaia], Samoa, Tonga Isl.]; Santa Cruz Isl., Santa Cruz Isl.




Beaglehole and Beaglehole (1941:p292-4)[1] note that Pukapukan children indulge in “family plays in which a child pairs off with another of the opposite sex, the two playing at being husband and wife by manipulating each other’s sex organs and imitating the sex act”. “Masturbation is extremely common among children of both sexes to the age of about 12 years […] The attitude of adults to masturbation in children and sex organ manipulation is one of good-humored tolerence; that is, it is considered amusing if called to their attention. But for the most part adults never feel called upon to notice. […] [Masturbation] is regarded as their [children’s] game, natural to children of certain ages, and that is all there is to it”.

Beaglehole and Beaglehole (1939:p138; cited by Danielsson, 1956:p83)[2] quoted a native female Pukapuka: “As a girl I loved to play at having babies. We used immature coconuts as babies just as the little girls of today. Sometimes only girls played this game, at other times both girls and boys, aged 10 years or so. After a pretended cohabitation, the girl-mother stuffed the coconut inside her dress and realistically gave birth to her child, imitating labor-pains and letting the nut fall at the proper moment”.



Additional refs.:


-- Beaglehole and Beaglehole (1941)[3]










Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology, Berlin

Last revised: Sept 2004


[1] Beaglehole, E. & Beaglehole, P. (1941) Personality Development in Pukapukan Children, in Spier, L. et al. (Eds.) Language, Culture and Personality: Essays in Memory of Edward Sapir. Sapir Memorial Publication Fund, Menasha, WI, p[292-4]. See also Whiting, J. & Child, I. (1953) Child Training and Personality: A Cross-Cultural Study. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, p80

[2] Beaglehole, E. & Beaglehole, P. (1939) Brief Pukapuka case history, J Polynesian Soc 48:144-55; Danielsson, B. (1961) Sex life in Polynesia, in Ellis, A. & Abarbanel, A. (Eds.) The Encyclopaedia of Sexual Behavior, Volume 2. London: W. Heinemann, p832-40

[3] Beaglehole, E. & Beaglehole, P. (1938) Ethnology of Pukapuka, BullBerniceP. BishopMuseum 150:1-419